Sunday, November 15, 2009
Artist block??? I always thought that if I had the time, I would have the creativity. This year has been a real challenge in my day to day life and little did I realize what an impact it would have on my art. There are days where I have an endless bounty of ideas, that I can't seem to get them in my sketchbook fast enough. Oddly enough, now that I have the time, I have the dreaded "block". I'm hoping that as time heals all wounds, it will bring my creativity back. So muse, if you are out there, I'm ready to be inspired again and open myself up to new and creative techniques.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The two most wonderful women were in charge and built Art Is....2009 in the last 3 years to an incredible event. They are Ellen and Sal and like no one you have ever met. Before I even got to CT. I felt like I had made two very good friends. Sal & Ellen treated me as if I had been a friend on theirs forever, it was hard not to fall in love with them and their never ending energy. I feel truly blessed to now have them and the rest of the ART Is...2009 family.
I simply cannot wait until 2010, for the Wickedly Good retreat. Make it a point to look into the website and come join us. You will be in the most creative, inspirational weekend of your life!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Have you ever felt like you were stuck in the bottom of a hole
and no matter how hard you tried to get up and out
That is what life is like sometimes and it is probably the hardest thing
you will ever have to go through
I know that it is supposed to build character and strengthen your faith
and for the most part is does.
But when you fall again and again trying to grab a foothold to
lift yourself out, and you fall once more
You then start to get disillusioned,
forlorn and hopeless.
Have you ever heard the story about the man that fell in a hole
and couldn't climb out?
The first two people to come by tried to help him but failed.
Then the 3rd person to come by was a friend of the man's
and he jumped into the hole with his friend.
The man was shocked and wanted to know
why his friend had jumped in because now they were both stuck.
The friend replied
"I've been here before and I will help you get out of the hole".
No matter how bad things get, there is someone else with bigger problems than you.
No matter how hopeless things seem, there is someone there to help you through.
No matter how much you want to give up, keep pushing.
No matter how half empty the glass looks, it is really half full.
Start each morning thanking God for all that is good in your life.
Do you have a bed to sleep in?
Do you have food in the refrigerator?
Do you have clothes on your back?
Do you have friends and family that loves you?
Then my friend, you are truly blessed.
Every pitfall has a lesson to be learned.
Many times hard times come in clusters like a migraine
But in the end, things will improve
And you will emerge a stronger, smarter and wiser person for it
Your time to blossom will come, just have faith and
an optimistic outlook on life. And keep reminding
yourself how very blessed you are.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Nothing makes me more excited than finding new spots to go to and searching under tables for that precious jewel that no one wants and I can buy for a dollar or too.
Last week I picked up a beautiful old round table with a little drawer that I thought would make a perfect table for the chairs I'm putting in front of the fireplace. I also found gorgeous pieces of blue glassware in bowls and vases that I just had to have for the windowsill of my kitchen. When the sun shines through on the blues and orange pieces up against the white trim and buttery yellow walls, it makes the room sing.
I also found a few dolls with porcelain parts that I just had to have. I went to buy a doll from a friend of mine and fought with her to pay for it because I felt guilty knowing that I was going to rip the doll apart (gently of course) and use the limbs for art pieces. I totally missed the art doll challenge with Art Is...2009 for July but better late than never, I always say.
The hardest part of going to flea markets is containing my excitement until I bargain with the owners. One must not seem too over zealous or the price goes up. I usually can contain myself for a little while, but once money changing hands, I'm all smiles and giddy from the hunt and find!
Getting back to the furniture, I'm going for a "beachy" theme in the new house and the old wood of the table just wouldn't do so my girlfriend Linda and I spent hours priming a bunch of furniture last week. Then of course, we just had to go and check out the local VOA Thrift shops for more goodies.
Then comes my next dilemma, how to finish the furniture to fit in the room. I scoured websites and looked at all different faux finishes and distressing furniture but nothing really caught my eye.
As most people, I do my best thinking in the shower (don't ask me why) and I decided to go to my local craft store and I bought 2 cans of spray paint, one in an ocean like blue and the other in a soft green (love those 40% off coupons!).
I took the furniture outside and my son Brian and I went to town spray painting the furniture in both of these colors. No rhyme or reason, just swirls and fun. The pieces were bright and beautiful but needed to be toned down a bit so after much thought, I mixed white latex paint with water and dry brushed it on the furniture.
WOW!!!! IT WAS GORGEOUS!!!!!
Of course, I have mixed up a huge batch of whitewash and used about a quarter of a cup but it was well worth wasting the extra paint. There is just a bit of the colors coming through and once I take a light sanding to the edges, it is going to be perfect. I'll post pictures soon.
I'm so excited about my flea market finds and turning them into treasures for the new house, I can't even begin to tell you.
So when you're out at estate sales, yard sales and flea markets, don't forget to check under the table for they hold the most wonderful (and cheap) treasures!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I fill in my columns, sometimes transferring things on the "To Do" list from last week to this week ( I never seem to get caught up!) and followed by reading the paper.
This is my ritual and I love it. These week is filled with job searching (still), painting the new house (we went with a beachy theme and soft colors) and creating art.
I'm taking a class from Artella and if you have never visited their website, DO IT NOW! Marney is amazing and I have watched her grow her business for years and it is so inspiring. Just google Artella and it will come up.
This week I am concentrating on new samples for Art Is ....2009, a class that I'm teaching on Friday called"Landscape Painting and 3D embellishments. My mind has been swirling for days on new ideas and I'm up to my elbows in paint and fabric and loving every minute.
So, it's time to go, I'm teaching a class today at Studio 34 in Rochester and it's called Memories under Glass, mini colleges sandwiched between thin glass and soldered. It's one of my favorites to teach.
So have a wonderful week and create some art!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Part of me wants the house to be a beachy retreat. I love the ocean and the colors of blues, greens, softness and beauty. My son loves the idea too. It will be easy to paint soft colors, get slipcovers for our furniture and accent the place with things that are light and airy.
The the other part of me wants warm tones, reds, off whites, bright accents and a warm wonderful feel.
So I stand divided and I'd better make up my mind soon because time is not going to stand still.
It's like when I order in a restaurant. I always have to go last because I can never make up my mind until I'm forced to. So I'll keep you posted as to what we decide. I have a feeling it will either be Brian's choice or a coin flip!
Monday, June 8, 2009
Last Monday June 1, 2009 my father passed away, leaving a world full of pain, cancer and broken hearts. He is pictured above with his pride and joy, my son Brian taken last June at Bri's graduation party.
My father left a legacy in his children and grandchildren and took much pride in his family. He taught me so much and although the pain is so fresh and the wound so open I feel compelled to tell you about him. I had forgotten how painful it is to lose a parent, as my mom died 20 years ago. I am so grateful for both of my parents and their guidance and love.
I'm so relieved that his pain and suffering is over and that he is "Safely Home in Heaven at Last", with my mom and other loved ones but it leaves such a hole in my heart and my life. Let me tell you a little about him.....
His name is Bob Russell and his life revolved around his family. He fell in love with and married my mom Ursula in the mid 1950's and about a year later my older brother Mark came along, quickly followed by yours truly 14 months later. My younger brother Bobby was born 4 years after me and my parents always said if Bobby had been the first, he would have been the last (he was a wee bit mischievous as a child).
My brothers and I grew up with our parents involved in all that we did. We lived in a little Italian community in Rochester NY and went to a 4 room/8 grade schoolhouse, complete with our catholic Italian church, Most Precious Blood. Dad was a huge part of our parish and worked on everything from Bingo calling to help building our new church, rectory and convent. We were blessed to have our second family in our MPB parish and still have remained close with many that we were lucky enough to grow up with. Because as in all families, blood and love is thicker than water.
He was a plumber by trade and very smart. We had a family affair in his company, Russell Plumbing and Heating with all of us kids worked with dad at one time or another and my mom running the office. We have many wonderful memories of growing up at the "shop".
Now this may sound like a fairy tale childhood and in many ways it was, but my father was also a perfectionist and strove to instill in his children a set of values, morals and a love for working hard at all you do. Of course it took years for us to realize that he spent our whole lives
teaching us in a way that we were not even aware of and for that we are eternally grateful.
He was a man who was not afraid of hard work and worked endless hours both in the field and the office. It was not unusual to hear our telephone ring in the middle of a cold winter's night and dad leaving to fix someone's furnace who was without heat.
He worked hard and played hard. He loved our cottage and boating (but hated to fish), we spent many a day on the water (hence, my love for bodies of water). He loved to travel with my mom and for 17 years, they would go every year to Las Vegas with a group of their friends from MPB. They later bought a time share in Paradise Island Bahamas which was truly their paradise and spent 2 glorious weeks every winter there.
His family and friends always came first and he taught me to think of others first and gave me my love for volunteering and helping others. He passed on his love of movies and music to my younger brother Bobby (who is the director of the historical Little Theatre in Rochester NY) and his love of The Lord, church and friendships to my older brother Mark in Highlands Ranch Co.
He was always a sharp dresser, spent hours on the golf course, loved to go out on Saturday date night with my mom, loved his sports (Mets & Giants fan forever and of course his favorite, hockey), devote father, grandfather and friend. He was a Little League coach, spent many a 6am morning at the hockey rink with my younger brother, drove the Aquinas band equipment truck on many a road trip with my older brother and fought like the dickens to keep my majorette group at Nazareth Academy from being disbanded by a nasty nun.
All in all, Dad taught us everything we know. He and Mom always taught us to reach for the stars, all the while knowing that they were there to catch us if we fell.
He leaves behind our children, his grandchildren who adored him and is the only grandfather who's name was Baba (a combo of Bob and Papa, compliments of his oldest grandchild, Jenny). He has wonderful in-law kids who he always thought of as his own and of course my brothers and I.
Dad, you served The Lord well and did everything He asked of you. He took you to heaven a week ago to enjoy eternal life. Give Mom a big hug and kiss everyday from her kids and grandkids. Until we meet again we will hold you in our hearts forever.
Love, Di, Danny, Bobby, Kathy, Mark, Cathy, Jenny, Chris, A, Brian and Madi
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Life can be such a roller coaster, and one that sometimes,
I would personally like to get off of.
If only for a short while, enough time to take a deep breathe
and live in peace and harmony.
If only for a moment, an hour, a day.....
So where do I go when I need a break?
Either outside to sit by my pool and reflect (no pun intended)
or to Paradise, my studio.
At either place I am able to clear my head, close my eyes and picture
the things that make me happy.
Friends, Family, Art & the gentle sounds of water
So when life gets to be too much to handle,
Take a short vacation to your paradise
Trust me, it will renew you and give you the strength to keep going.
Monday, May 4, 2009
But life gets in the way and you cannot possibly fit in art?
Well that is my life right now
And I miss my art!
I'm still getting the house ready to sell
The To Do list is like a rabbit,
it just keeps multiplying.
But what can I do to sooth my creative soul?
Well, I keep a journal with colored pencils handy at
all times for those stolen moments
I think "Art" as I spackle, paint, and pack
I see a color or a shape in my house
And I grab my journal and record it
My mind is constantly going in different directions
So why not make one of those directions about creating
So while I get the house ready
I can at least, be creating art
In my mind.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
He is my greatest joy, love and accomplishment
His name is Brian and he is a "first year" student in college
His hopes, dreams and aspirations
are amazing for someone so young
And he is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Being an only child (and not by choice) it was
very hard to let him go when it was time for college.
Lucky for me he did not go far.
We searched up to seven hours from home
but in the end he fell in love with Hobart College
on Seneca Lake, about 45 minutes from home
He's far enough away that I don't drop in
But close enough if we have an emergency or
he decides to pop home for a short visit.
It's hard to believe that his school year is over in ten days
and he'll be home for the summer.
I'm sure there will be many days that we will both hate it, the "rules of the house",
rolling of the eyes, messy rooms and checking in at nighttime
But all in all I truly cannot wait for him to be home
So we will all enjoy these last few days apart,
then it's back to one happy family unit.
God help us!
focus on the kind of art and jewelry that I really want to make.
I get sidetracked so easily (ADD or old age?) and I find myself not making
the type of jewelry that I sketch in my journal.
I really feel the need to be true to myself
and my passion lies in unusual pieces with
So today, I will carve out some time to make Art or Jewelry
that reflects my personality
I will put aside my worries if only for a short time
BTW: I'll be posting the pics of the crocheted pendants that
I've been cranking out. Insomnia at Dad's is fueling
my need for repetitive motion and crocheted jewelry
is poring out of me! I think it's so soothing.
So have fun today and carve out a little time for your passion!
Today was one of those perfect, but busy days. I started out spending the morning at Rochester Works, taking seminars and lining up appointments for further help and education on my search for a new career. I feel like God is taking my hand and guiding me, but I'm so dense that I practically have to be
hit over the head with help!
Monday, April 27, 2009
I feel a sense of awakening. Spring has always been my favorite season, it's when the earth wakes up after a cold snowy winter (at least in upstate NY where I live) and comes alive with sights and sounds that I love.
So today I will play, maybe not all day but I will pick one project to do and
nurture my creative soul. Because days like this give me a sense of renewal.
Will I play with my new Shiva Paint Sticks and my journal? I got the paint sticks all at 70% off at the college book store where my son attends school, talk about the deal of a century!
I'll let you know tomorrow what I do with them.
Just the act of taking a few hours and playing has me so excited.
I always have projects on hand in pretty tote bags or small containers.
That way you can always just pick up the bag and take it with you wherever you go.
I have a bag with gorgeous lush yarns coupled with knitting needles. I plan on making a prayer shawl (a glorified scarf, only longer). I know how to knit, but I can't remember how to pearl. Maybe someone can teach me but in the meantime I'll just knit.
I have many little pencil cases filled with thin colored wire, bags of gorgeous glass beads in beautiful color combos, and a size 5 crochet hook.
I love to crochet with wire and beads.
It is calming, repetitive and soothing to my soul.
. It's amazing how much you can get done in those few minutes here and there throughout you're day. I have ended up making enough strands for a pendent or bracelet in no time.
So today, carve out some time and come play with me, if in spirit only!
Happy Springtime, and have a glorious day!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
There is nothing quite as special as family.
No matter how much we argue
or disagree with each other
When push comes to shove
We always have each others back
When we are hurting, with no one to lean on
We always have our family
We may not have that special of a
relationship with everyone in our family
but sometimes no matter how much
we try, it just is not meant to be.
The key is to realize that some things
cannot be changed and move on.
I feel very fortunate to have
a wonderful family.
I don't know what I would do without
my brothers, sister in laws,
son, husband, nieces, nephews,
aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Because, yes my friends are my family
They say you can pick your friends but
you cannot pick your family.
I feel lucky to have the best of both.
Through thick and thin,
tears and laughter,
through good times and bad,
I thank God for my family
There is nothing like playing with new materials to brighten your day.
Or materials that have been sitting in your studio
for so long that you had forgotten you had them.
This morning I took spray paint (the kind for fabric and paper) and various textured sheets of wallpaper samples (the embossed kind), along with cardboard.
I laid out the wallpaper and weighed down the corners so it laid flat, then I using the cardboard to section off "parts not to be sprayed".
Holding the cardboard in one hand and the spray paint in the other hand, I started spraying various sections of the wallpaper.
It created beautiful colors and sharp lines
and was very abstract and cool.
I don't know what I'll do with it next but I have a few ideas.
I might mat it and frame it as is, or staple it on stretcher frames and add embellishments, or paint circles and flowing lines on it.
The possibilities are endless.
The moral of this story?
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO PLAY.
Don't always think that you have to make a masterpiece,
it stifles the inner child in all of us.
So today, if it's even for a few minutes, get out your stuff and play.
Melt crayons (with an old iron or a mini one from a craft store) on to rocks, or a
Teflon sheets (then quickly stamp in a rubber stamp that has been conditioned first).
Glue an abstract design of plain old string on a wood block. Then roll on paint or stamp pad and stamp a design into various types of paper or fabric.
Just do something fun and quick and believe me, it will be such a stress buster for you, you'll want to spend more time playing.
Just don't let dinner burn, or the clothes sit in the washer for a couple of days.
But by carving out short time spans for yourself to play,
will help release your inner muse
and make you very happy.
Remember if the woman of the house is happy,
then everyone is happy!
Enjoy your day
When I'm having a bad day I will sometimes just go sit in Paradise and look around at all the creations, supplies, and memorabilia in my room. I have my collection of nuns (yes I went to Catholic school for 12 years), various pieces of art that my friends made for me or I made, a few awards and all the things I hold dear to me.
I'm a bit of a pack rat by nature, just because you never know when inspiration will strike at 3am and you'll need that piece of ephemera that you hopefully didn't toss out on your last cleaning binge.
Sometimes I spend more time cleaning up the studio and trying to bring some semblance of order to all of the treasures that Paradise holds than I do in actual creating.
But even the organizing and clean up brings
peace to my soul.
When I do create, I can actually feel myself shift from my left brain to my right brain (this comes with either mellow music or rockin' REO). And then the fun really begins. Hours go by and I am oblivious to the outside world. Living in my dream world of total creation.
So for the last few days, I've tried desperately to organize and clean up in anticipation of showing my house when it goes up for sale soon.
The Realtor took one look, and bless her heart (she is an artist too), said "This room will be shown as a studio and people can just use their imagination if they want it to be a bedroom".
We instantly bonded.
So I am off once more to Paradise to continue to sort, reminisce and enjoy organizing and touching all the beautiful fabrics, paints, papers, metals, buttons and other things that continue to bring me joy.
If you don't see or hear from me for a few days,
send out a search party.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Life is fragile and very special.
It should not be wasted on negative thoughts & actions.
No one has a crystal ball to know what our future holds, but
if we greet every day with a feeling of positiveness
then we open our hearts and souls
to endless possibilities.
Choose to live your day to the fullest,
seeing the positive in everything you do
that shift in your attitude will make a huge difference in your life.
I believe in taking the day you were given as a gift
and make the most of it because you never know what tomorrow holds.
The way you treat your day
will determine your attitude and frame of mind.
Dread the day, waste the day.
Embrace the day, find endless possibilities.
Seek enjoyment even in the mundane activities of your day
then cherish every moment.
Remember that no matter how hard your life is
you are never alone
Walk in the Light with God by your side
He will get you through the trials and tribulations of life
If He leads you to it, He will help you through it
When things seem at their bleakest
Remember that someone in the universe has life much harder than you
Sneak away everyday, if only for a short while.
Spend time nurturing your soul.
Curl up with a good book and cup of coffee
Journal with written & artistic words
Create a piece of art.
Knit, Crochet, Sew
Make a Artistic Trading Card
Breathe in the quiet
Do something that makes you happy
Life is Fragile, Handle with Care
Life is Fragile, Handle with Care